The research comes out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It analyzes the results of an eight-year study that looks into a potential link between vegetation and life expectancy.
In fact, women who lived in the greenest surroundings were found to have mortality rates a whopping 12 percent lower than those of women who lived in plant-less homes and areas. And these women not only had a longer life expectancy but better mental health too.
It’s not just Instagram aesthetics, though. The link between greenery and mortality rates is rooted in a few different components, according to the research. Those surrounded by plants demostrated lower levels of depression, increased opportunities for social engagement, higher levels of physical activity and reduced exposure to air pollution. Are you running to the nursery yet?
Even better news: This wasn’t a small study at all. In fact, it’s one of the first nationwide studies to cover the connection between plants and health.
“We were surprised to observe such strong associations between increased exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates,” said Peter James, research associate in the Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology, in an interview with the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We were even more surprised to find evidence that a large proportion of the apparent benefit from high levels of vegetation seems to be connected with improved mental health.”
So if you’re feeling stressed (or just want to tack a couple extra years onto your life), go buy a plant. And if you’re anything like me, good luck not killing it within a month.